Dependency syntax: theory and practice by Igor A. Melcuk

By Igor A. Melcuk

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First, dependency trees have been independently accepted in many grammatical traditions, beginning from Antiquity. , in this connection, McCawley 1973). Constituent trees, on the contrary, were devised (according to Percival 1976) only at the beginning of the twentieth century by the German psychologist Wilhelm Wundt, from whom they were borrowed and introduced into linguistics by Bloomfield in the early thirties. To be sure, this is not a sound scientific argument; but the overwhelming allegiance of grammarians and language teachers to syntactic dependency constitutes, at least to my mind, an import.

Notes 1. ) The only traces of morphological agreement or government in English are: the verbal suffix -s in 3sg of the present indicative, different number-person forms of BE, singular plural opposition this vs. these and that vs. those, as well as the oblique-case forms of personal pronouns me, us, him, her, them and of the interrogative pronoun < previous page page_10 If you like this book, buy it! next page > < previous page page_11 next page > Page 11 whom; the status of the nominal possessive form in -'s is dubious (see Mel'cuk * 1986: 48-52).

There are five major respects in which D-language is different from PS-language: 1. Constituency vs. , combine) with which other items to form tight units of a higher order. " The main logical operation in this approach is set inclusion (to "belong to a phrase" or "belong to a category"). Under the PS-approach, an actual sentence is, so to speak, cut into (gen- < previous page page_13 If you like this book, buy it! next page > < previous page page_14 next page > Page 14 erally two) major constituents, each of which is subsequently cut in its turn, etc.

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